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Colonel removed, Major suspended in J&K fake encounter case Current Affairs

An Army Major has been suspended and a Colonel removed from his command for their alleged involvement in the killing of three youths in a fake encounter in April, 2010 in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Colonel has been removed from the command. The second officer (Major) has been suspended as of now and an inquiry has been ordered,” Lt Gen B S Jaiswal, chief of Army’s Northern Command, said on 6.6.2010.
Both Col D.K. Pathania, Commanding Officer of 4 Rajput Regiment, and Major Upinder of the same regiment, were named as main accused by the Jammu and Kashmir police in the April 30 Machil encounter case.
The Army on April 30, 2010 said they had killed three unidentified infiltrators in Machil sector along the LoC and later claimed they were Pakistani terrorists.
Mohamad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed, all residents of Nadihal in Baramulla district, were gunned down after they were allegedly lured to the border areas and shot dead in an alleged encounter.
Following complaints from relatives of the victims, a territorial army jawan and two others were arrested.
The Army had ordered an inquiry into the killing after the police filed a report accusing the Major of entering into a criminal conspiracy with some locals to eliminate the three youths by labelling them as terrorists.
“Pathania has been asked not to leave the Valley till the inquiry is completed,” Army sources said. He was all ready to leave for Meerut where his regiment has been relocated.
Gen Jaiswal said, “It (inquiry) will be totally transparent and the truth will be there…. The inquiry is on. Our genuine concern is to be transparent. This is the first step. And this should be the indicator that subsequently we will be coming out with the truth.”
This is the second time that the Army has removed a serving officer from a command. Earlier, Colonel Gloria of 33 Rashtriya Rifles was removed for allegedly killing three boys who were playing cricket in a playground in Dudipora-Handwara in February 2006, three months after he had taken over the reins of the counter-insurgency unit.
In the Machil case, police inquiry relied heavily on the statement of a trooper of 161 battalion of the Territorial Army in Gauntmullah, Baramulla who told the investigators about the alleged involvement of Major Upinder. Abbass, the Territorial Army jawan, was among three persons including a former Special Police Officer arrested by the police in this case.
Meanwhile, the police have recorded the statements of the parents of the three slain youths after taking them to Kupwara.
Earlier, Chief Judicial Magistrate Sopore had recorded the statements of close relatives of the three youths.
The action came after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met senior officials of the Army and police at a high-level meeting on 6.6.2010.
Mr. Abdullah has made a strong pitch for amending the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to make it more transparent. He is expected to raise this issue during the two-day visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Jammu and Kashmir from 7.6.2010.

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